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Announcing GI2018

BIG NEWS! The Great Indoors is back for its third year in 2018.

On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July GI2018 will take place at Parkside Suite, Bromsgrove. You may or may not be aware but this is the first time the event will run over two days. We are very keen to cater for increasing numbers of attendees and provide the best experience possible. To that end, we have received feedback suggesting there is demand for a whole weekend event; in addition it was always our aim eventually for The Great Indoors to be a weekend event. We feel that the time is right for this and hope that you'll be able to join us for one or even both days. While pricing is not finalised at this point, having the venue for two days will enable us to offer weekend tickets at a reduced rate while not penalising those who wish to only attend for one day.

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The Poor need to stay poor

Before we get into game night proper, I need to do a little housekeeping.

As you may recall, the last time I posted, we were celebrating our two year anniversary as a game group. I had planned a surprise gift, but unfortunately did not plan it four days sooner, which is when I would have had to have ordered it so it would arrive on time. As it was, it arrived the next Wednesday, and we didn’t play last week due to the holiday, so finally tonight I was able to give them their anniversary gift. Better late than never, am I right?

So what was the surprise?

Spoiler alert, custom dice are not as expensive as you might think, and you don’t have to order in large quantities. (Go to Chessex.com and tell them the creevedog sent you.) (The creevedog part is really optional, and probably won’t result in any advantage at all. It just sounded cool.) Long story short, I was able to create a set of dice for each of us and give everyone a set of everyone else’s dice. (That was really hard to say. Everyone got four sets of dice. Damn.)

Custom dice

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Introductory post: Victor Lamy

When Peter reached out to me following one of my blog posts on Board Game Geek a few weeks ago, we got on very well and Peter kindly invited me to join the Great Indoors community of contributors - thank you, Peter, for the great opportunity to be here in front of you today.

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The View from the Bottom of the Food Chain

And just like that, it was game night again.

It was Workman’s night to pick. He chose Dominant Species. I’ve played DS twice before, but it’s been a while. I remember a cut-throat war game where you climb and claw your way to the top of the evolutionary heap by conniving, scheming, and attacking the weakest among you. I can’t imagine why Workman wanted to play.

Dominant Species box

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Cate Blanchett is not Tilda Swinton and I am not the King but Leon is the Pope

Few things in life are certain. Death. Taxes. And if it’s Steve’s night to pick, he won’t show up.

I should be more charitable. He tried. He picked Star Trek: Ascendancy. He was really excited to play. He even made it to dinner. But he was sick and felt terrible and decided to go home and sleep. (This is in no way relevant to the story and I’m not mad or anything, but he picked the restaurant too, and we went to Chili’s. I used to love Chili’s but they’ve changed their menu and I can’t even describe to you how bad it sucked. Just unfathomable suckage. Truly next level suck.)

So that left Workman, Leon and me. But we don’t sweat three-player game nights anymore. Workman shouted titles from the closet and we had so many choices we couldn’t even pick one. But we finally landed on Ra.

Ra box

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The Three Amigos

It was Steve’s night to pick, but his wife’s sister was unexpectedly in town and she lives in England and words, words, words....he bailed. So it was just the three amigos. (The waiter at the Mexican restaurant calls us “amigos”. I like it. I’m sure he doesn’t call anyone else that.)

Back-up plan: I was expecting my copy of Alien Artifacts. A delivery was attempted over the weekend, but I missed it, so all I knew for sure was I had a package to pick up at the post office. (I swear to god the mail person must have either waited for me to go to the can or knocked on the door with a feather because I was home all damn day on Saturday and no one came to the door. But I digress.)

So I read the rules online, watched every video I could find, crossed my fingers and went to the post office this morning.

Special delivery

Success!

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Memento

But it was still a good game night. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!


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I'm hoping to think of a better title but if I don't, I'm sorry, it's late, I played a lot of Ashes today and I'm tired

In case you missed it, two new Ashes decks released on Thursday. It's been over a year. I wasn't excited. I didn't leave work early to go pick mine up. I didn't walk into the store and declare "I'm here for my Ashes decks and I'm very excited!" I didn't go home, sleeve all the cards (I'm a slow sleever, everyone thinks so, this is a big deal) and wait for the Hubz to get home. I didn't text the Hubz and tell him I'd scrapped my dinner plan, I was too excited to cook, please bring home some food. I didn't do any of that. That you know of.

Guess what else I didn't do? I didn't lose eight straight. Eight straight. Actually I did. Mark beat me seven times (over three days), and Leon was nice enough to meet me for lunch Friday and beat me again, taking some of the pressure off Mark. Swell guy that Leon.

So by Saturday night, my excitement was in the shitter and I was a broken shell of my former self. And guess what! I'd planned an Ashes draft for Sunday afternoon. I didn't want to play. I didn't want to draft. I wanted to back over all my cards in the driveway. But I didn't. We had a six-person draft as planned. And it was fiiiiiiine.

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn

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King Charlotte

This is going to be a short one.

That's what she said.

It was Workman's pick and he declared it a Tichu night. I was much excited. I love me some Tichu.

Tichu box

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Via Nebula: a review. Martin Wallace + fantasy = masterpiece?

Background

Martin Wallace is a very famous British game designer and many of his games centre around trains: building routes, buying shares, collecting and using resources. Three of his most famous games are Age of Steam, Steam and Railways of the World (co-designed with Glenn Drover). They share certain similarities and design elements and range from medium difficulty (Railways of the World) to the more heavyweight end of the spectrum (Age of Steam).

Craftsman and wheat

In 2016, Via Nebula was published by Space Cowboys and if you've not come across this game before I'd imagine you're wondering round about now what trains have got to do with anything? Bear with me.

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So many onions

Let's kick the post off with a recap of dinner. Well, just the appetizer. We ate at our favorite (usually) Mexican restaurant. Leon got there first, got a table, and ordered "loaded queso". It was on the table when I got there. It was the nastiest looking plate of garbage I'd ever seen. "What the hell is that?" "I think I ordered the wrong thing." It was cheese and chorizo and onions and onions and onions and grease. With extra onions.

Workman and Steve got there and lost their minds over it. "This is amazing." "Best queso ever." "You can't have too many onions." No, you can. You definitely can.

This has nothing to do with anything, other than I needed to mention it. So. Many. Onions. So many. Onions.

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AOX preview

One of the benefits of running your own event is that you get to meet some great people throughout the board gaming world.

Chris 'Shep' Shepperson

Shep

We backed Shep's first published game, Package!?, last year which successfully funded on Kickstarter and were impressed with the design. It's a highly abstract game for 2-4 players that can (eventually) be played in around 10 minutes. It does, however, have a steep learning curve for such an ostensibly simple game and certainly isn't for everybody. Now step up AOX, coming soon to Kickstarter.

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Don't Kick a Gift Horse in the Mouth With Those Sticky Toes

Monday was Workman's birthday. (Happy Birthday!) In keeping with Fun Group tradition, we chipped in on a gift. We got him two new games (and a manly Yankee candle, but you can read about that on my manly Yankee candle blog.) And tonight we got to play both of them.

(In a somewhat related story, during the course of this gift buying, Steve confessed that he thought the expression was "don't kick a gift horse in the mouth." His whole life he said it this way. No one ever corrected him. It was just recently that he learned of his gaff. We think this bold stupidity may have cost him at least one job, and probably countless women. Not relevant, just wanted to share.)

Workman's favorite hidden movement game is Letters from Whitechapel. He says it is "pure deduction." I've played it once, and near the end, asked the person playing Jack the Ripper to please bludgeon me with a shovel and put me out of my misery. It is not my favorite hidden movement game.

But when I heard about Whitehall Mystery, I was intrigued. It promised to strip away all the bullshit from Whitchapel that made it run long and become tedious. And even if I still hated it, it seemed like Workman would like it.

Whitehall Mystery

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GI2017: the full report

The Great Indoors 2017

Saturday 29th July at Arrow Valley Visitor Centre

Exhibitors

It was great to see many people taking advantage of our exhibitor demos/playtests.

Dice Hospital

Dice Hospital prototype with Mike Nudd

Four Elements

Michael Mita's Four Elements

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False Tip. (Don't Ask)

I know what you're thinking. No post last week? No game night? No Fun Group? Not exactly.

There was a game night. Last Monday. It started normally enough, eating dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. (I am in no way going to besmirch the name of this fine establishment as I do not think it is to blame for what followed.) Afterward, we went to Workman's house as usual. We sat down to play Ra.

We played one round. Leon pulled a Ra tile. I had to bid. I asked Workman to explain what two of the tiles meant. He obliged. I could hear him talking, but I became aware that I had no idea what he was saying. And I felt very bad. Very. Bad.

I went outside for some air. I sat on the porch for about five seconds and realized I needed to be at home. Like now. So I went back inside, apologized, and said I think I should leave.

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We couldn't refuse. Really.

Leon went on vacation. (Some people are so selfish and inconsiderate.) But we had already recruited Munch, so we had four. What we didn't have was a game. We were doing really well with the weekly pick schedule, but then Steve kept not showing up on his night and blew that all to hell, so here lately, it's just been a crapshoot. We suggested different things, but nothing was grabbing anybody. And then over the weekend I found out that the game I played at Origins, the game that I really enjoyed and pre-ordered, was ready for pickup. (And I thought it wouldn't be out till Gencon!) That game was The Godfather.

The Godfather box

Corleone's Empire. A land where "suitcase" is a verb and you don't make change. Ever.

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Next steps from Monopoly and classic games

If you haven’t played any new board games for a while and are not sure where to begin, look no further. We’ve listed similar games to all of the major classics. We’ve tried to list games which are available to buy and should feel familiar yet exciting by highlighting a key aspect similar to the classic game.

This blog was originally published on the Herefordshire Board Gamers blog.

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Cry Havoc! Or not.

It's game night! I was super excited because we were playing Cry Havoc. And because I tainted last week's game night by being an asshole. But mostly Cry Havoc.

I even sent this super cute pic to the guys the night before so they wouldn't forget. I was so excited!

We were playing Cry Havoc

Kind of sad really, when it al...

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Friedemann Friese ruined game night. But then - plot twist! It was Stefan Feld the whole time!

Last night was game night. We had it all planned. Steve was back, and we roped Munch in for a five-player game of Battlestar Galactica. We hadn't played since the night we locked Leon in the brig for two hours because Steve was the Cylon. That was eighteen months ago. I still feel bad.

But tonight would be awesome. No awkward lessons about racism in the modern American criminal justice system, not tonight, no sir.

Workman skipped dinner to go home and clean the Gloomhaven off his table. And then he messaged us to advise that, umm, he might not actually own Battlestar Galactica. He might have, umm, traded it away two years ago. #awkward

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My Origins 2017 Highlight Reel

For those of you out there who may not know, Origins is like the American version of the U.K. Games Expo. Think of it as our U.S. Open to your Wimbledon. (What's that? No, it's a tennis tournament. We have one of those over here too. It happens after Wimbledon. Well, it's kind of a big deal. I mean, I thought it was a big deal. Nevermind.)

So Origins is a gaming convention held in Columbus, Ohio in June each year. I went for the first time last year. And couldn't wait to go back this year. The Fun Group didn't go (losers!) but I went with the Hubz and two of our gaming friends from back in the day. I won't bore you with a detailed play-by-play, I'll just hit the highlights.

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Top pub/cafe games

Pubs and cafes are a great place to play games and over the coming months I plan to list the best pubs in the area to rock up, play games. Having a game shelf in a pub is becoming cool but with so many games out there where do you begin? (particularly if you are not hugely into gaming).

So here is Herefordshire Board Gamers Top 10 ultimate pub game starter kit.

This blog was originally published on the Herefordshire Board Gamers blog.

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Competition winners

This is just a quick announcement to confirm the winners of the early bird prize draw.

1st place: Ben Gallant - £30 voucher

2nd place: Emma Davies - Terraforming Mars

3rd place: David Tomlinson - Roll Player

The prizes are on their way now from The Board Game Hut so all that remains is to congratulate the winners, and wish them masses of enjoyment, thank The Board Game Hut for sponsoring our event with these amazing prizes, and lastly to encourage any readers who haven't yet bought tickets for our upcoming event on Saturday 29th July in Redditch to consider attending. More details will follow but for now please head to The Great Indoors event to find out more.

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Trucks in Space

There are a few things I do well. I bake outstanding chocolate chip cookies. I merge fearlessly. I can knock back three margaritas and still put up a power score in skeeball.

There are even more things I do poorly. I'm a bad liar. I suck at math. And it turns out I'm a really terrible space truck engineer.

Galaxy Trucker box

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A Dog, a Dragon, and a Phoenix walk into a bar. And the Bartender says....

"Who's got the Mahjong?"

Ok, I'm really proud of that title. Little known fact....the title is the hardest part of blogging. For realz. I hate coming up with titles. But this one, this one just sang to me. So if you hate it, keep it to yourself. Don't bring me down.

By now, you've figured out that tonight was Tichu night.

Deck-box

No obligatory box top photo. Workman keeps his Tichu cards in an old yellow deck box. It has a certain charm, yes?

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Mike Dimona's Five-Point Plan

It's draft day! Who's excited?!?!

Ashes box

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Board game terminology: a guide

Contributor Zara Shoosmith recently wrote an article about board game terminology and how their widespread use in conversations can be confusing and intimidating to new gamers. I am guilty of assuming that everyone will understand when I use a term such as 'king-making'; I do not use the term to consciously exclude people from the conversation but that is in fact a likely result. This whole topic is an issue I had not considered before; joining a board game group already has significant barriers to entry and we must do what we can to make new gamers as comfortable as possible. In future I will try to make sure that if I use jargon, I immediately offer an explanation to those who may not understand. If you are a new gamer, there is also something you can do: read around the topic, consume lots of board game media and, if necessary, consult this handy reference guide designed to explain terms that you may come across.

Confused Peter looking at a dictionary

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Peace, Love, Harmony, and Dad Jokes

Concordia is Latin for "harmony". This is apropos of nothing, except that I took two years of Latin in high school and I rarely get to use it, so I thought I'd share. Apropos of game night, it was my night to pick and I wanted to play Concordia.

This space intentionally left blank

This is the spot in my post where I typically slap in a big yet poorly angled photo of the game box. Concordia's box cover is next-level awful. Like, it's famous for how bad it is. It keeps people away. It's best you don't see it.

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Rocking the Cradle of Civilization

Steve picked tonight, and he went with Tigris & Euphrates. What can one say to introduce such a paragon of board gaming excellence? Where does one start to describe this Knizian triumph of game design and the color beige? I'll start here:

Meh.

Tigris & Euphrates box

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Kodama: a review. The family game with depth.

Background

Kodama: The Tree Spirits was released in 2016, designed by Daniel Solis and originally published in English by Action Phase Games and Indie Boards and Cards.

Kodama box

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Joey, Do You Like Board Games About Gladiators?

It was Workman's turn to pick, and he wanted to play Sporadicus.

I had never played, so I watched a few reviews. I learned that the game involved three phases: Intrigue, where you negotiate via manipulation and deceit; Market, where you wheel and deal and blind bid for assets and people; and Combat, where you fight to the death in a dice-chucking arena battle. So basically, we were signed up for a night of Workman: the Board Game.

Spartacus box

This box contains mature content.

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I find making friends hard; gaming helps

I have suffered with depression for a number of years now; it's hard to say exactly how long. Thankfully, unlike millions of other similarly-afflicted people in the world, I'm a board gamer. Out in the real world, being an introvert hinders my ability to make friends and depression and anxiety symptoms have done nothing to improve this. If you can relate to this then my first piece of advice would be to go to a regular gaming group. Emma and I had lived in Bromsgrove for 4 years by the time I formed Bromsgrove Board Gamers. How many good friends had I made in that time? Not many. Fast forward another 3 years and we have made some great friends, all through the joys of gaming.

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Khorne Wants To Be Where The People Are

It was my night to pick. And Steve was finally going to show up. Correction, Wednesday was my night to pick. And Steve was finally going to show up. Until Tuesday, when he realized he couldn't actually do Wednesday (calendars are hard) and we were all gracious enough to move to Thursday.

And then on Thursday afternoon, this happened:

Messages

Our responses speak volumes about our character.

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Episode XXVII

We were once again sans Steve, and Leon just now got around to watching Rogue One, so it was feeling like a Star Wars: Rebellion night.

Star Wars Rebellion box

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The Unboxing of a Gaming Group

Part 1: All the Great Ones Have an Origin Story

Heroes, villains, gaming groups......the really interesting ones are only interesting because of how they came to be. And most of them came to be as a result of some accident or strange twist of fate. The Fun Group is no exception.

The Fun Group

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Hello, I don't speak board games

So, I recently joined a board games group. For context, I have always loved board games. My family and friends also enjoy board games. It’s just unfortunate that they don’t enjoy board games half as much as I do. Consequently, after over a decade of patient participation I decided to give my loved ones a break and indulge my ludological longings elsewhere.

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Call for contributors

Ever wanted to see your name in lights? Dreaming of your 5 minutes of fame?

We are looking for bloggers who are a little bit different; people who write for the fun of it; people who adore table top gaming. If you're interested in blogging on The Great Indoors then please email Peter .

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My board gaming genesis

I got into board gaming through a friend at church, the right honourable Neil Curtis. Because he's an unassuming, diffident kind of chap, he let me pick the games from his collection that I wanted to play. Rather than condescending by starting me off with 'gateway' games, he let me chart the course, probably reasoning that it's more important to garner enthusiasm for this wonderful hobby than to insist on starting with simpler games and moving from there.

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My relationship with the Rule Book: it's complicated.

Gamers create a wish list of table top games for many different reasons. As I've mentioned before I'm drawn to games by their artwork alone. Obviously once I'm drawn in I do my homework in terms of taste and playability. Then the only thing left to do is to click the purchase button (if it’s actually in stock!) and wait for that well packaged cardboard box to arrive. I carefully open my parcel to reveal my latest addition to the family and check that the game has been safely delivered with all its fingers and toes. Yet I’m only fully emotionally committed once I break the cellophane that seals the board game. The final hurdle is meeting my nemesis... he Rule Book!

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"For someone with Dyslexia, you've chosen an interesting hobby"

Recently a fellow board gamer commented, "for someone with Dyslexia you've chosen an interesting hobby." By that he meant gaming can be pretty complex and challenging. This certainly made me think about what attracted me to table top gaming.

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Theme & Competitive Strategy together will bring balance to the force

As a family we love watching Star Wars. As soon as I noticed the game Risk: Star Wars Edition, I had to purchase it. It’s for 2-4 players although I believe it's best played with just 2 players. The game is based on The Return of the Jedi with 3 different and concurrent battles: the fight between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the battle of star ships trying to destroy the Death Star and the fight on Endor with the rebels trying to bring down the shield generator.

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"It's not you, it's me".....The value of playing again

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take some time off work and play a couple of games with friends. There is something delightful about spending a day playing instead of the normal gaming night where you only really get a couple of hours to get through a game. You don't feel rushed and you can take your time learning your latest addition. On this occasion I got to play Viticulture for the first time and Blood Rage for the second time. Whilst playing both these games I was able to observe my thoughts, emotions and behaviour, which sounds a little like a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) activity.

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Playing cooperative games can feel like being the fat kid on sports day

I haven't played a great deal of cooperative games and I'm happy to admit I thoroughly enjoyed T.I.M.E Stories, Xenoshyft: Onslaught and Ghost Stories. However, in general I have mixed feelings about games that involve working collaboratively. Each person comes to the game with their own expectations and strategic approach. Where do I fit in this team pursuing victory? It takes a mature group to allow each person to use their unique strengths and also to allow individuals to make mistakes. As much as I've enjoyed co-ops, the hours spent around the table aren't always relaxing and can have their uncomfortable moments.

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How do you interpret when ambiguity strikes?

Family favourite: Arcadia Quest

Arcadia Quest

The kids and I have started a new gaming tradition in the school summer holidays: we set aside 2 weeks to play Arcadia Quest that normally takes us about 20 hours to complete. Arcadia Quest, for 2-4 players, is a campaign game with 11 scenarios in which you have to complete six. I was originally drawn to the game by its awesome miniatures which I've tried to paint, starting with the Goblin Archers. The city of Arcadia is currently controlled by the vampire Lord Fang and his evil minions and monsters. Players take over guilds of 3 heroes, each of whom have unique abilities. These heroes' powers become stronger over the game so that you can finally destroy Lord Fang. However don't become complacent as the other guilds want to have prestige and they don't mind killing you to achieve this!

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